This year’s ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) took place from 19 – 21 June in New York, with the theme of “Restoring humanity, respecting human dignity and leaving no one behind: working together to reduce people’s humanitarian need, risk, and vulnerability.” Below you can read about some of the highlights:

MONDAY – Youth Pre-Event
On 18 June 2018, the Major Group for Children & Youth (MGCY) with the support of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY), kicked off HAS 2018 by hosting a successful youth pre-event. This event allowed young people and stakeholders to prepare and strategize for how best to meaningfully contribute to the ECOSOC HAS and the annual meeting of the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action. As a global advocate for the needs and rights of young people, this pre-event was held at OSGEY, highlighting the Youth Envoy’s support and acknowledgement of the need to provide a space for young people to meet, discuss and prepare, to ensure meaningful engagement in intergovernmental processes at the UN.

TUESDAY– Igniting Hope Side-Event
The OSGEY, along with UNFPA and MGCY co-organized a high-level side event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 19 June. The side-event, co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Denmark and the State of Qatar to the UN, highlighted the achievements of the Compact and its partnerships in transforming humanitarian action with and for young people in the last 18 months. These achievements are additionally presented in the “Igniting Hope” report that was launched at the side-event. The report acts as testimony to the successful and innovative programming that has prioritized the needs and rights of young people.

Moderated by Lama Ranjous, the young Global Focal Point on Migration from MGCY, the event featured an intergenerational and interactive discussion on the definite ways in which organizations are advancing the commitments of the Compact and reflected on how best to localize action at the field level in the upcoming year. “It is often the case that when NGOS give aid, they don’t design the programs or projects for the best interest of the people who need help, especially the youth,” said Mohammad Hassouneh, the panel’s youth representative from Jordan, as he voiced his concerns. “We need to find outlets to engage the youth in the design process and planning from the beginning.”

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THURSDAY / FRIDAY – 3rd Annual meeting of the Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action

The Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action convened at the UNFPA Headquarters on June 21-22 for its 3rd Annual Meeting. With over 50 signatories, the Compact brings together a committed group of like-minded individuals from international and local non-governmental organizations, youth networks, private sectors, as well as UN agencies and missions. The Annual meetings allow the members to review their progress, define priorities for the upcoming year, and modify the global work-plan to fit the new goals. The meeting is crucial to achieving the Compact’s five core commitments, and this year, the main objective was to discuss ways to localize the Compact the field level for young people in humanitarian action. A visual overview and more information can be found here.

To top off a successful week, this year’s Ministerial Declaration adopted by ECOSOC HAS included strengthened language on youth, recognizing the influential role youth play in humanitarian assistance and calling for their increased engagement in response efforts.

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